What is Kitezh?
Kitezh is a network of therapeutic communities that give children from orphanages loving foster families.
The aim is to create a developing environment for the education and care of orphans and children in crisis. The first Kitezh village is in the Kaluga Region, 250km southwest of Moscow. The second, Kitezh-Orion, is located 60 km in the same direction.
Family love, beautiful surroundings and an emphasis on individualized education all help children to heal scars of early traumas and build the personal, academic, and vocational skills to become active, contributing members of society.
In Kitezh, nearly everything is done together: all meals are eaten together, work is done in groups, games are organized for the whole community. Being so collective creates a strong support system for these kids to feel safe in.
History of Kitezh
In 1992, Dimitri Morozov founded the Kitezh partnership of foster families. He Left his job as a radio journalist in Moscow and inspired others to join him in the countryside to build a community for children. The local administration gave them 100 hectares of land left vacant since the collapse of the collective farm system.
They began work: building houses and vegetable gardens, a school, a farm, and a church. The building work continues to this day.
Since 1992, 80 children have lived in Kitezh; the eldest are now studying at university, doing their military service, or having children of their own.
Over the years, Kitezh has received input, training and advice from psychologists and child welfare professionals from Britain and the USA. In 2003, Kitezh was recognized as a therapeutic education community when it became the first international associate member of the Charterhouse Group of Therapeutic Communities in Great Britain.
Every summer Kitezh offers a summer camp for Russian kids, mostly from the Moscow area. Central to the camp experience is a role playing game that involves all of the Kitezh residents as well as the kids who are there for the camp. It is an elaborate production with costumes, different kinds of tasks that the participants must perform and an economy that participants have to master to be successful in the game. The whole thing is really a big classroom disguised as a game where kids learn valuable lessons about dealing with other people and adversity while learning about themselves and pushing their own boundaries in ways that they would never think of doing in any other setting. In that way, the game is a lot like what BI-K is providing to Bainbridge kids.
Starting in 2016, Kitezh has invited the BI-K team to participate in the games. While we don’t know exactly what that means yet, it is a very exciting opportunity that is unequaled in anything else that Bainbridge youth can be exposed to.
We have a video that was produced by Kitezh to promote their camp and the games on our media page. There is a lot more information on the Kitezh website including a number of pages dedicated to the games. Unfortunately, the games portion of the website is in Russian but Google will be happy to translate it for you.